Southeastern Beach Mouse

SoutheasternBeachMouse.jpg

Southeastern Beach Mouse: Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris

Taxonomic Classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Muridae
Genus/Species: Peromyscuspolionotus
Subspecies: Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris
Common Name: Southeastern beach mouse

Listing Status

Federal Status: Threatened
FL Status: Federally-designated Threatened
FNAI Ranks: G5T1/S1 (Globally: Demonstrably Secure, Sub sp. Critically Imperiled/State: Critically Imperiled)
IUCN Status: Not ranked

Physical Description

The Southeastern beach mouse is a subspecies of the small old-field mouse that has a light brown and grayish dorsal (back) side, light brown forehead, and white belly.  Adult males average a length of 5.3 inches (13.5 centimeters) while females have an average length of 5.5 inches (14 centimeters).  Tails are white on top and gray on the bottom.  Females have a 2.2 inch (5.6 centimeters) tail while males have a two inch tail (5.1 centimeters) (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).

Life History

The diet of the Southeastern beach mouse primarily consists of dune plant seeds and insects.

Very little information is available about the life history of the Southeastern beach mouse, so information about the beach mouse species (Peromyscus polionotus) is generally accepted as the same.  Breeding peaks during the winter months, but can occur year around if there is adequate food available.  Beach mice are monogamous and will mate with only one partner at a time.  The total gestation period for a beach mouse is 23 days, with the female giving birth to four pups per litter.  Females are also capable of breeding 24-hours after giving birth (Bird et al. 2009).  Pups are weaned 18 days after being born (NatureServe 2011).  Beach mice reach sexual maturity at around 30 days of age (Foust 2002).

Habitat and Distribution

Southeastern Beach Mouse Distribution MapThe Southeastern beach mouse inhabits sand dunes along the Florida Atlantic Coast from Volusia south to Martin County.

Threats:

Very little information is available about the life history of the Southeastern beach mouse, so information about the beach mouse species (Peromyscus polionotus) is generally accepted as the same.  Breeding peaks during the winter months, but can occur year around if there is adequate food available.  Beach mice are monogamous and will mate with only one partner at a time.  The total gestation period for a beach mouse is 23 days, with the female giving birth to four pups per litter.  Females are also capable of breeding 24-hours after giving birth (Bird et al. 2009).  Pups are weaned 18 days after being born (NatureServe 2011).  Beach mice reach sexual maturity at around 30 days of age (Foust 2002).

Conservation and Management

The Southeastern beach mouse is protected as a Threatened species by the Federal Endangered Species Act and as a Federally-designated Threatened species by Florida’s Endangered and Threatened Species Rule External Website.

Federal Recovery Plan External Website

Other Informative Links

Animal Diversity Web External Website
FWC Beach Mice Facts Adobe PDF
Florida Natural Areas Inventory External Website
NatureServe Explorer External Website
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History External Website
University of Florida External Website
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Species Conservation Guidelines External Website
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service North Florida Species Account External Website

 

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References

Bird, B. L., Branch, L. C., & Hostetler, M. E. (n.d.). Beach Mice. Retrieved June 2, 2011, from IFAS Extension: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw173 External Website.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory.  2001.  Field guide to the rare animals of Florida. http://www.fnai.org/FieldGuide/pdf/Peromyscus_polionotus_niveiventris.PDF External Website.

Foust, D. 2002. "Peromyscus polionotus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed June 2, 2011 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Peromyscus_polionotus.html External Website.  

NatureServe. 2011. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available  http://www.natureserve.org/explorer External Website. (Accessed: August 12, 2011).


Image Credit USFWS



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